Business Ins & Outs, Jan. 24, 2018

By Robert Devaney and Selma Khenissi

In (Coming): Amazon on M St.

The odds are looking good for D.C. to snag HQ2, the second headquarters for Amazon, the retail giant founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post. Of the 20 shortlisted cities, reported that, as of Jan. 19, betting website Bovada had Nashville as the +800 favorite, with D.C. close behind at +1000. The other front-runners were Atlanta (+1200), Austin (+1400), Dallas (+1400), Philadelphia (+1400) and Indianapolis (+1500).

Meanwhile, Amazon has already selected Georgetown, where a bricks-and-mortar presence is under construction. The company is moving its first D.C. bookstore into the retail space at 3040 M St. NW, next to the building that once housed a Barnes & Noble. Amazon also plans to open a store in Bethesda, Maryland.

Jeff Bezos. Courtesy Amazon.

In (Reopened): El Centro D.F.

Walking around Wisconsin Avenue and M Street NW, you may have noticed a business announcing its comeback with great fanfare: “We are back on fire.” Mexican restaurant El Centro D.F., 1218 Wisconsin Ave. NW, reopened after being closed for two weeks because of the damage done when firefighters used its space to put down a fire next door on Dec. 15. The restaurant needed to get building permits to repair a third-floor wall.

Out (Sort of): Lynn Louisa

Women’s clothing retailer Lynn Louisa, which describes itself as focusing on “young luxury and off-duty style,” shut down its brick-and-mortar store after Dec. 23. However, fans of the shop can still buy items through its website. A note where the store used to be at 1631 Wisconsin Ave. NW said that while its online presence is growing — a few of the new arrivals were already sold-out as of this writing — the support from store customers for two and a half years is not forgotten.

Demo Work: Pier 2934

A demolition permit has been issued for 2934 M St. NW, where seafood-focused restaurant Pier 2934 used to be. The notice on the front window indicates that a restaurant, listed as belonging to the category “Restaurants A-2,” will be replacing Pier 2934 (same category).

Correction: Pearson’s Is Not for Sale

In the Jan. 10 Georgetowner, Business Ins & Outs erroneously reported that Pearson’s Wine & Spirits, 2434 Wisconsin Ave. NW, is for sale — building and business — for $5.2 million. A representative of Pearson’s contacted the newspaper last week to assert that the report was incorrect. (A Glover Park news blog and a real estate website still indicate otherwise.) It is unclear if the 18-space Pearson’s parking lot remains available in a separate sale.

Group Pushes to Keep Johnson’s Open

The latest from a community group fighting to keep Johnson’s Florist and Garden Center at Van Ness and Wisconsin Avenue open:

At an emergency meeting at American University on Jan. 18, the Ad Hoc Committee to Save Johnson’s Florist and Garden Center pressed representatives of American University, owner of the property, to involve A.U. President Sylvia Burwell in the Johnson’s controversy. The ad hoc committee continues to ask for Burwell to meet with the Ad Hoc Committee and act to Save Johnson’s.

The call for a meeting with Burwell, first issued when the community learned that Johnson’s was closing in early January due to a hike in rent, was made directly to Assistant Vice President Linda Argo as she presided at a meeting of the A.U. Community Liaison Committee. Argo said that Burwell was at a basketball game but that the request would be transmitted and the answer delivered to the Ad Hoc Committee.

Said Judy Chesser of the ad hoc committee: “It is not enough to say that lower level AU ‘officials’ went through the appropriate ‘process’ since they came up with the wrong answer. Only President Burwell has the authority to meet A.U.’s societal obligations as a tax-exempt entity. President Burwell should make good on A.U.’s claim to be ‘a valuable and valued community partner.’ President Burwell should respond to the online petition, with over 2,000 signers, the community letters, the alumni letters and other appeals about saving Johnson’s.”

There will be a Feb. 26 community meeting with American University President Sylvia Burwell — 7 p.m., town hall; 8 p.m., reception; Constitution Hall, East Campus, 3319-3395 New Mexico Ave. NW. RSVP to



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